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Mirror Mirror

  • Exhibition

  • October 5, 2002 - January 20, 2003
  • MASS MoCA

Mirror Mirror brought together ten works of contemporary art that used mirrors as their primary media. Installed in the Michael and Agnese Meehan Gallery and the Prints and Drawings Gallery, the exhibition was curated by Jane Simon, a student in the Williams/Clark Graduate program in the History of Art.

The “mirror stage” — when children first recognize themselves — is widely understood as a critical phase of human development. Mirrors, both symbolically and practically, are the fulcrum within that development, and this exhibition features artworks that use mirrors to re-examine the concept of a unitary “self.” The mirrors in this exhibition were cracked, wrapped in swirling baroque forms, faceted, inserted into a television set, interwoven with transparent glass, and used to create a sparkling insect costume. In each case, the artists used the physical material of the mirror to undermine its spiritual or symbolic connotations.

Examples included: Felix Gonzales-Torres’ poignant Untitled (Orpheus Twice) in which two full-sized mirrors are displayed side by side. When the viewers stand in front of one they see only themselves, with no reflection in the other. (Orpheus, the lyre-player of Greek mythology, tried but failed to free his dead wife from the underworld with music; so too does Gonzales-Torres seem to speak to his longing for an absent lover.)

In a video installation, Fountain, Patty Chang tackles another Greek myth. Like the beautiful youth Narcissus, Chang sees her reflection in a fountain, falling so in love with herself that she tries to lap up her image, humorously slurping the water. If asked “Who is the fairest of them all?” few viewers of this video would nominate Chang.

Other artists included Maureen Connor, Olafur Eliasson and Jeroen Jacobs, Jeff Koons, Christian Marclay, Donna Neild, Alyson Shotz, and Carrie Yamaoka.

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